Silver Wordsmith: An author's journey
At the end of last week, I learned a very important lesson – you don’t just get to affect your writing, but your writing affects you as well.
What happened was that I was going through some serious sections on three separate projects. In the same week, I was moving from climactic event to climactic event in my second novel, was writing one of my main characters in serious peril in The Second Magus, and was wrapping up the monstrous 14,000 word eleventh chapter of The Bloodlet Sun. All three contained intense scans but also all three required a lot of attention because of how important those scenes were to the overall work.
The week itself didn’t turn out to be exceptionally productive, though decently so, but by Friday it had left me absolutely drained. It took me a little bit to figure out exactly what was going on but then I traced my mood back to my writing.
It’s easy to forget the two-way street here when as the creator the temptation is to see ourselves in total control of our work. These worlds exist only in our heads and therefore should not have any external influence on us whatsoever. Except that’s not entirely true is it? The things we create we end up processing. The emotions that we spill onto the page have to come through us. If something in our writing is intense, then we’re the ones that put it there, and we experienced that intensity to make our writing authentic. Even if what you’re creating is completely fictional, and not drawn upon your real-life traumas, there is still some reality in there for us.
In the end, we want to make others feel something with our writing, and how would we able to do that if we don’t feel anything ourselves? And so we also need to remember to be kind to ourselves. We’re not typing machines that are tuned to spit out a certain word count on a daily basis. For this reason, we have to allow ourselves to regroup and take whatever time we need to jump back in.
For me, I had basically written off that Friday and took the weekend away from my writing, except the cursory minimums to maintain my daily writing streak. There were a few guilty feelings there I had to chase away but otherwise it was good for me, and I was able to pick up those same projects the following week without experiencing burnout.
So I would recommend the same to you – be in tune with how your writing makes you feel, and react accordingly.
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Michael is a husband, father of two, lawyer, writer, and is currently working on his first novel, at a snail's pace. A very leisurely snail. All opinions are author's own.